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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of supplementary seed provision on abundance of seed-eating passerines at three arable farmland sites in Hampshire, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire, England

Published source details

Robinson R.A., Hart J.D., Holland J.M. & Parrott D. (2004) Habitat use by seed-eating birds: a scale-dependent approach. Ibis, 87-98


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated and controlled study at three farmland sites in England in the winters of 1999-2000 until 2001-2002 (Robinson et al. 2004) found that farmland birds showed mixed responses to supplementary food. Chaffinch Fringella coelebs, linnet Carduelis cannabina and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella all showed significant short-term increases on at least one plot provided with food (chaffinch densities increased by 80-200% on three of six fed plots, yellowhammer densities increased by 230-400% on four of six fed plots, data for linnets not provided). There were no corresponding short-term changes on nearby control plots. Skylark Alauda arvensis did not show any consistent response to food at any of the sites and there was no longer term impact of feeding on bird densities. Supplementary food consisted of 36 kg/ha of mixed grains broadcast over fields. The authors suggest that the lack of effect of feeding at some sites may be due to a very low natural seed density in the soil, meaning that even with supplementary food, the level of food was too low to attract birds.

 

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival Bird Conservation

A randomised, replicated and controlled study at three farmland sites in England in the winters of 1999-2000 until 2001-2 (Robinson et al. 2004) found that farmland birds showed mixed responses to supplementary food. Chaffinches Fringella coelebs, linnet Carduelis cannabina and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella all showed significant short-term increases on at least one plot provided with food (chaffinch densities increased by 80-200% on three of six fed plots; yellowhammer densities increased by 230-400% on four of six; data for linnets not provided). There were no corresponding short-term changes on nearby control plots. Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis did not show any consistent response to food at any of the sites and there was no longer term impact of feeding on bird densities. Supplementary food consisted of 36 kg/ha of mixed grains broadcast over fields. The authors suggest that the lack of effect of feeding at some sites may be due to a very low natural seed density in the soil, meaning that even with supplementary food, the level of food was too low to attract birds.